STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Burnside Elementary Fifth-Grader George Martin Jr. Hopes to Reach Superstardom as a Comedic Actor
George Martin Jr. is on a journey to become the world’s most famous actor and comedian. At ten years old, he already has a handful of professional credits under his belt.
Most recently, George starred in a holiday commercial for Foot Locker opposite NBA player Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves. In the commercial, Edwards and a group of Foot Locker ambassadors encourage George during everyday activities, including playing video games and walking the dog. Since the commercial was posted on YouTube in November 2023, it has received more than 550,000 views. George’s commercial was also seen on a billboard in New York City’s Times Square.
George says when he was on the set of the commercial, he felt like he was the star of the show.
“When the cameras were pointed toward me, I felt like I was a super, superstar,” said the Annie Burnside Elementary School fifth-grader.
George got the gig after going through an audition process. After submitting an at-home audition tape, George was asked to participate in a Zoom audition with the casting directors. He says he doesn’t get nervous when he auditions.
“I don’t get nervous because I know that I can do it over and over again until I get it right,” he said.
George says he enjoyed working with Edwards on set and says the commercial was the best experience of his acting career so far. He recalled a rehearsal when Edwards forgot a line and George reminded him of it. Edwards thanked George afterwards.
“He was nice and humble, and he smiled a lot,” George said. “I told him ‘One day, I’m going to dunk a basketball on you’ and he said ‘Oh, really?’”
George got into acting after seeing his three sisters go into modeling. Two of George’s sisters are current Richland One students: Lark Martin, a seventh-grade student at Crayton Middle School, and Leighelle Martin, a junior at A.C. Flora High School.
“One day, my sisters were modeling for a championship and I told them what they had to do. My mom really liked that, so she signed me up to do acting,” George said.
George’s first acting gig was in 2021, when he starred in a commercial for Nathan’s Famous hotdogs. As he was rehearsing for the commercial, George made sure everyone knew he was the star.
“I was sitting at the table and I said to everyone, ‘So, who’s the star here?’ George said.
Just before getting the gig, George’s father, George Martin Sr., passed away. George’s mother, Lawanda Champaign Martin, says the commercial served as a way to help George not feel so sad about his father’s death.
“Ironically, George’s father’s favorite food was hotdogs. When George got selected for that commercial with no experience, my mind immediately went to his father,” she said.
George says he loves making people laugh, something Martin says reminded her of his father.
“George saw how his dad was able to light up a room, no matter where we went. George kind of mimicked that,” she said.
George has also done movies and TV shows including “The Business of Christmas 2,” “Covenant” and two episodes of “Sesame Street.”
While out on acting jobs, George makes sure he keeps up with his schoolwork, even scoring an “Exceeds Expectations” on his spring 2023 SC READY ELA and math tests.
“When I’m doing schoolwork, I don’t let anything get in my way,” said George.
An inspirational mantra Edwards often preaches is “Believe That.” George said he will always keep that mantra in mind as he continues succeeding in his acting career and in school. He even has a T-shirt that says “Believe That.”